Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

President Trump said he’s open to interfere in the Huawei case. Is the cost worth it?

As we highlighted on Monday, the arrest of Chinese telecom giant Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has ruffled many feathers, adding a new dimension to U.S.-China trade talks. China is suspicious of U.S. intentions behind the arrest; the U.S. wants to go after Iran sanctions violations; Canada is simply cooperating with the U.S. to ensure Meng’s extradition — all of which has led to China’s arrest of Canadian nationals.

Then, President Trump weighed in. On Tuesday the president said he would intervene in the case if it were necessary for the success of U.S.-China trade talks. Although there’s no doubt that the United States and China must agree on solutions to the laundry list of demands and irritants stopping fair trade between both countries, we have to ask ourselves: At what cost?

The president's suggestion threatens the rule of law, some critics say. William Reinsch, the Scholl chair for international business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNN:

"The US, like Canada, we're both rule of law countries based on a constitution, legal principles, rule of law. Our history is that things like this proceed through the criminal justice system and justice is blind. Trump is basically saying he might interfere with this process, which is a terrible precedent."

Here's the argument: If President Trump were to interfere, it could call into question any potential deal the United States and China might agree to. This is a deal that should be made on the merits of fair trade, and therefore not include a possible criminal case. 

Mr. President, please tread carefully! American workers and communities need real solutions to the trade inequalities that have gutted American manufacturing. We can’t get distracted; let’s leave Meng’s case to the courts. We already have enough work to do to fix the deep issues plaguing the U.S.-China trade relationship.